Judge denies motion to block Exubera sales

A federal judge in New York on Thursday denied a motion filed by Novo Nordisk that would have blocked sales of Pfizer’s inhaled insulin Exubera. The preliminary injunction was requested by Novo Nordisk as part of a patent infringement case that will be heard by the same court. Novo sued Pfizer in August saying that sales of Exubera would damage future sales of Novo’s developmental inhalable insulin product AERx, projected for release in 2011. In a ruling, Judge Leonard Sand said Novo’s claims were “speculative” and that halting Exubera sales would be “contrary to the public interest.” In his 13-page ruling, Sand said a determination of the validity of the patents “will best be served through closer inspection at trial.” Jim Shehan, Novo’s general counsel for North America told Reuters the drugmaker remained confident in the strength of its patents. “We intend to keep moving forward to trial and our intention in not weakened by the way in which the judge ruled in this case,” Shehan said. No trial date has been set for the patent infringement case.